I consider myself lucky. I just saw an early screening of "The Avengers", and it gives me an opportunity to dish. Overall, lot of parts in the film were great, some were bad, and some just left me scratching my head wondering what the heck just happened. For director and screenwriter Joss Whedon, it was a film he can be proud of, except for some inconsistencies and some wooden acting beyond his control. Speaking of actors (or actress in this case) Scarlett Johansson just did a phenomenal job playing Natasha Romanoff the Russian spy working for S.H.I.E.L.D., I'll get more into that later.
First lets start with a little warning about this film. If you have not watched the movie "Thor" you will be lost! If this movie wasn't named "The Avengers" it could have been called "Thor 2: The return to Earth". It is totally dependent on that one film, and I highly recommend that you pick up the Thor DVD, before you put down a single cent to see "The Avengers". There are references to the "Captain America" film, but not enough for me to advise renting that DVD.
The best thing about "The Avengers" is the eye-popping special effects. Hands down the best this year so far. It is surprising though that this film is being released on May 4th and not during the Summer. With the amount of eye candy this film puts out, this film should have been released in June. If CGI is your thing, then "The Avengers" will not disappoint. Looking back I kind of regret not seeing this in an IMAX, since those "wow" moments would have been so much bigger on a bigger screen.
When you see this film the two on screen presences that you will remember are Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Lee Renner. Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow plays something this is not in action movies, a smart, tough, independent woman who is not romantically involved with the hero. She plays a former spy before joining S.H.I.E.L.D. who works well with the team, and doesn't feel the need to bat her eyelashes to get the job done. It's not a role that one would initially pick of someone as beautiful as Scarlett Johansson to play. However, she exudes such a toughness and seriousness that it makes her character believable, that she can stand amongst Earth's greatest heroes.
Jeremy Lee Renner plays the edgy Clint Barton / Hawkeye in "The Avengers", and does an outstanding job as the archer who can make impossible shots. I can't go into much about him, because he is such a driving force in the first half of the film. Let's just say he plays both sides of the coin with a deadly efficiency.
All comedic relief is handled by Robert Downey, Jr. reprising his role as Tony Stark. Downey, whose is the driving force behind the "Iron Man" franchise, has this role down so pat I swear he could do it in his sleep! Playing the egotistical but moralistic Tony Stark, Downey brings a character that does not play well with others on the team, but will get the job done no matter what it takes. Downey is able to move the plot by stirring up conflict in the team, and taking one's mind off of his co-star Chris Evans.
Captain America played by Chis Evans, should have the hero's name changed to Captain Boring. It was like watching Al Gore trying to save Earth. It didn't work, and I really wished he wasn't such a prominent role in the film. He played a one dimensional hero, upset about his past, stuck in one particular mindset. That leads me to believe that it wasn't Evans fault, but just the way the character was written. I thought Evans portrayal of America's hero was better in the franchise "Captain America" than it was here. I know Evans is a good actor, and I do hope his character can be fleshed out more in "Captain America 2". However, for "The Avengers" the inconvenient truth is that Evans plays a part as wooden as an Al Gore joke.
The rest of the cast were there, but nothing really stands out. Chris Hemsworth as Thor played the part he was born to play, but brought nothing but eye-candy and great fight scenes to the film. His role was the least amongst the films giants Downey and Johansson. That is surprising since his characters brother Loki played by Tom Hiddleston is the main antagonist of "The Avengers". Hiddleston played a great character, but I felt it could have been more. Loki is a torn character with issues (see the movie "Thor" to understand why), that really needed a darker portrayal than a typical movie villain wishing to enslave mankind. There are flashes of what should have been, but the screenplay just didn't provide enough to make this character great. This character could have been another Heath Ledger's joker, but it turned out instead to be something seen before.
Samuel L. Jackson turned in another man behind scenes pulling all the strings role as Nick Fury. A great role, and he played it perfectly. The same can be said of Mark Ruffalo playing Bruce Banner before CGI takes over to transform him into the Hulk. Ruffalo put his own spin on the "Hulk" franchise that really works. It was great to see this classic Marvel character able to grow, and I really hope the studio sticks with Ruffalo for a Hulk sequel.
Nowadays, since going to the movies can get a little pricey one judges films if it was worth the money. "The Avengers" was worth my price of admission. It was fun, and surprisingly it moved at a quick pace considering how many storylines and characters they were trying to squeeze into this one film. I left the theatre wishing for more from Hiddleston, surprised by Johansson and disappointed by Evans. Overall out of four stars it gets a solid three; because for a should have been summer flick it keeps you entertained with the action. The action scenes and eye-candy alone are worth the price of admission, and can gloss over any negatives this film may have.